Jennie Finch thinks softball's association with baseball may have contributed to its elimination from Olympics
Softball was part of the program the last four Summer Olympics, but you won't see it played in London this summer.
Softball, along with baseball, was eliminated from the 2012 Olympic program in 2005, and the decision was reaffirmed a year later. In 2009, the International Olympic Committee decided to keep the two sports out of the 2016 Olympics.
I spoke with Jennie Finch, a gold medalist and one of the most famous softball players in the world, about softball's potential inclusion in future Olympics. She also discussed why she thinks softball was pulled in the first place.
"One of the reasons they usually pull sports from the Olympics is the ratings. But we were right in the middle. We weren't even in the lower half -- we were in the upper half of all those ratings," she told me. "Our sport finally was growing, and 16 years isn't very long for countries to establish their programs, but we were finally getting there.
"I think softball being partners with baseball could have hurt us because baseball doesn't require drug testing, and they don't need the Olympics. Softball is in a whole different situation, and we're two different governing bodies. So I think that relationship might have hurt us," Finch said.
"Also, softball and baseball aren't that popular in Europe, and Europeans have a strong presence on the International Olympic Committee. So I think there were a couple of factors against us going in, and I think the IOC didn't really differentiate between softball and baseball."
Unfortunately for Finch, baseball and softball are maintaining an association. The two sports are partnering to make a joint bid aimed at reinstatement for the 2020 Summer Games. They'll learn their fate in September 2013.
"I hope to get it back in," Finch says, "and I hope the opportunity is there for future softball players all over the world."
Photo credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
- Jennie Finch